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Petticoat Rule   By: (1865-1947)

Petticoat Rule by Emmuska Orczy Orczy

First Page:

PETTICOAT RULE

BY

BARONESS ORCZY

AUTHOR OF "THE ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL," "I WILL REPAY," "THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL," ETC.

[Illustration]

HODDER & STOUGHTON NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

Copyright, 1909, By Baroness Orczy

Copyright, 1910, By George H. Doran Company

TO

THEODORE WATTS DUNTON

THE KIND FRIEND WHOSE APPRECIATION HAS CHEERED ME, THE IDEALIST WHOSE WORK HAS GUIDED ME, THE BRILLIANT INTELLECT WHOSE PRAISE HAS ENCOURAGED ME

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

IN TOKEN OF ADMIRATION, REGARD, AND FRIENDSHIP

EMMUSKA ORCZY

CONTENTS

PART I

THE GIRL

CHAPTER PAGE I. A FAREWELL BANQUET 3 II. THE RULERS OF FRANCE 10 III. POMPADOUR'S CHOICE 23 IV. A WOMAN'S SURRENDER 32 V. THE FIRST TRICK 45 VI. A FALSE POSITION 51 VII. THE YOUNG PRETENDER 58 VIII. THE LAST TRICK 72 IX. THE WINNING HAND 82

PART II

THE STATESMAN

X. THE BEGGAR ON HORSEBACK 95 XI. LA BELLE IRÈNE 103 XII. THE PROMISES OF FRANCE 112 XIII. THE WEIGHT OF ETIQUETTE 127 XIV. ROYAL FAVOURS 136 XV. DIPLOMACY 148 XVI. STRANGERS 160

PART III

THE WOMAN

XVII. SPLENDID ISOLATION 179 XVIII. CLEVER TACTICS 185 XIX. A CRISIS 201 XX. A FAREWELL 212 XXI. ROYAL THANKS 215 XXII. PATERNAL ANXIETY 221 XXIII. THE QUEEN'S SOIRÉE 228 XXIV. GOSSIP 233 XXV. THE FIRST DOUBT 238 XXVI. THE AWFUL CERTITUDE 245 XXVII. A FALL 267 XXVIII. HUSBAND AND WIFE 276 XXIX. THE FATE OF THE STUART PRINCE 294 XXX. M. DE STAINVILLE'S SECONDS 308 XXXI. THE FINAL DISAPPOINTMENT 321 XXXII. THE DAWN 328 XXXIII. THE RIDE 333 XXXIV. "LE MONARQUE" 338 XXXV. THE STRANGER 349 XXXVI. REVENGE 359 XXXVII. THE LETTER 370 XXXVIII. THE HOME IN ENGLAND 375

PART I

THE GIRL

PETTICOAT RULE

CHAPTER I

A FAREWELL BANQUET

"D'Aumont!"

"Eh? d'Aumont!"

The voice, that of a man still in the prime of life, but already raucous in its tone, thickened through constant mirthless laughter, rendered querulous too from long vigils kept at the shrine of pleasure, rose above the incessant babel of women's chatter, the din of silver, china and glasses passing to and fro.

"Your commands, sire?"

M. le Duc d'Aumont, Marshal of France, prime and sole responsible Minister of Louis the Well beloved, leant slightly forward, with elbows resting on the table, and delicate hands, with fingers interlaced, white and carefully tended as those of a pretty woman, supporting his round and somewhat fleshy chin.

A handsome man M. le Duc, still on the right side of fifty, courtly and pleasant mannered to all. Has not Boucher immortalized the good natured, rather weak face, with that perpetual smile of unruffled amiability forever lurking round the corners of the full lipped mouth?

"Your commands, sire?"

His eyes gray and prominent roamed with a rapid movement of enquiry from the face of the king to that of a young man with fair, curly hair, worn free from powder, and eyes restless and blue, which stared moodily into a goblet full of wine.

There was a momentary silence in the vast and magnificent dining hall, that sudden hush which so the superstitious aver descends three times on every assembly, however gay, however brilliant or thoughtless: the hush which to the imaginative mind suggests the flutter of unseen wings... Continue reading book >>




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